SEO is a very crucial process that companies spend time and money to adopt. It helps you reach greater heights as far as the online spread is concerned. However, what most companies do not understand is that SEO is a continuous process. One of the stages where SEO needs to be done again is when you are redesigning your webpage.
Redesigning brings many new changes to your website, and this is when the SEO needs to be kept in mind. Your SEO can be negatively affected if the alterations are not done correctly. On the other hand, proper changes can boost the SEO strength of your website.
The article contains some important steps that you could follow to ensure that your SEO is not affected when the webpage is redesigned.
Before you start with your redesigning process, you should download your website's URL structure. Redesigning your website would make changes to the URL structure as well. That is why there should be a back-up so that the website ranking is not affected in any way.
The URL structure can be downloaded using plug-ins. These plug-ins will crawl your entire site and download the sitemap as a backup.
Redesigning should never be done on the existing website. This is because there can be several problems related to visitors, impacting the website in the long term. To avoid this, you can copy the site and then use a temporary URL to make the changes.
You can also switch your old domain to a new one after all the changes have been made. In case you are not a developer, you could take help from one so that this step is carried out properly.
Once you have copied the old website to a new address, you will be starting with your redesigning process. However, you need to check your website's status for any broken links, CSS, features, and other necessary aspects.
The check-up will help you understand if any problem areas need your immediate attention. This should always be done before you start the main project. You can use many free and premium tools for this process to provide you with complete check-up results of your website.
The redirect is a very crucial step that will help keep all your SEO benefits. Your old site URL content should be redirected to the new site URL content properly. During the redesign, your URL structure may have changed, and if the content is not redirected, visitors will come to a 404 not found page.
For example, your old Contact Us page URL was "www.domainname.com/contactus.html," which has been changed to www.domainname.com/contact-us.html after the redesign. You will have to do a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one so that your SEO efforts for the old page are not wasted.
Redirects are done through dedicated codes, and you would need the help of a developer for this. You can also use redirect plug-ins for the same.
Once you're designing and redirecting process is complete, you can switch to your new website. After this, you will have to check whether there are any broken links on the website. This is done to avoid any penalties in the future. For this step, you could use Google Webmaster or any other tool.
If you do find any broken links, fix them quickly before Google assesses them.
During the redesigning process, many developers stop the crawling function of the website. After the designing process is done, you will have to resume this feature on the website. Use the Google Search Console for this and choose the option "Fetch as Google" under crawler.
After this, click on the option "Fetch and Render" and check if the test results are positive. If yes, then your website is crawlable, and you are good to go. Checking the verification status of the redesigned website is also necessary.
Use the Webmaster Tool to check this and redo the verification process if it is not done so that you can claim the new website. After completing all these go to Google Index in the Search Console. Click the button "submit to index" so that your website UR is re-submitted.
Your robots.txt file could get corrupted after the website is redesigned. This is also something that you would have to check and fix. Go to Google Search Console and click on the option "robots.txt Tester" under the heading Crawl.
This will determine if any corrupted robots.txt files need your attention. If yes, then fix them immediately before you move on to the next step.
Re-submitting sitemap of your new website is important so that your Google rankings are not affected. You will have to re-submit the XML of your new website to Google so that the new site gets indexed and crawled in the coming hours.
If you have followed all the steps mentioned above properly, you now have a newly designed website with your SEO ranking intact. However, this is not the end, and you will have to observe your website for a few months. This helps you understand if your SEO is growing or if there are any negative impacts on the same.
Keep an eye on the ranking of ten top keywords along with their indexing. You will have to check if the keywords are being indexed wrong by Google. From this step, you will understand if all your efforts of keeping the SEO rankings have been fruitful or not.
Changing the look of your website and updating it is necessary from time to time. However, keeping SEO rankings can be a real challenge. However, the process is not very complicated, and there are certain small areas that you will have to pay attention to.
If you are not a technical person, it would be better to take help from a professional.